Thursday, 12 February 2015 00:00

Lessons learned: Are QB/WR combos a good idea?

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When it comes to drafting a QB/WR combo, judge the players as individuals first. Then factor in strength of schedule and injury proneness of the team's quarterback. When it comes to drafting a QB/WR combo, judge the players as individuals first. Then factor in strength of schedule and injury proneness of the team's quarterback. Elvis Kennedy/Flickr

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We've all done a fantasy football draft and wondered if drafting a team's top receiver as well as their top quarterback will help our fantasy team score more points. 

It's one of the most tempting things to do in your fantasy football draft, right along with drafting the injury prone but incredibly talented running back or the wide receiver that caught for more than 1,500 yards last season but also can't pass a drug test. You're investing a lot of your football knowledge and a little bit of faith that the two players you drafted on the same team will combine for enough touchdowns to warrant such a strategy and also stay healthy.

To answer this question, let's go over the top QB/WR fantasy combos in 2014 and see how they fared. We will judge them by how many points they combined to score as well as how many times they produced poor fantasy numbers. For the sake of argument, we will consider a poor fantasy week as any week where the two combined for less than 20 points.

Aaron Rodgers/Jordy Nelson/Randall Cobb combo

QB points w/Rodgers: 342 (1st overall)

WR points w/Nelson: 221 (3rd overall)

WR points w/Cobb: 191 (7th overall)

Total touchdowns combined (Nelson and Rodgers): 51

Total targets for Nelson: 151

Total touchdowns combined (Cobb and Rodgers): 50

Total targets for Cobb: 126

Bad fantasy weeks for Rodgers and Nelson: Week 1 vs. Seattle (18 points), Week 3 vs. Detroit (15 points), Week 15 vs. Buffalo (10 points)

Bad fantasy weeks for Rodgers and Cobb: Week 3 vs. Detroit (12 points), Week 5 vs. Minnesota (12 points), Week 15 vs. Buffalo (15 points)

What we learned

As the best fantasy combo of 2014, Rodgers and Nelson scored at least 20 fantasy points combined each and every week. By doubling down on two players, you always risk your fantasy team playing especially poor if that team just has a bad week. But with the Green Packers, you suffered minimal damage since the combo only struggled to score in three games. But it's important to notice that even you had Randall Cobb instead of Nelson, you still had the same amount of weeks where you only scored under 20 fantasy points between your quarterback and receiver.

When doubling down and going with a wide receiver/quarterback combo, you must value the health of the quarterback almost as much as his talent. If the quarterback goes down, then you risk losing fantasy value to both your quarterback position and the wide receiver position. You could try and immediately pick up the backup off the waiver wire, but there's no guarantee you'll get him and it's likely his talent won't be as good and therefore drag down the value of your combo receiver. We all know injuries are tough to predict, but take a look at the history of the players you're looking to double up on before you draft them. In this case, Nelson and

Another big thing you should be concerned with is strength of schedule. Assuming you make the playoffs, you'll want to ensure your team is going up against a bad defense in the fantasy money weeks (usually Weeks 14, 15 and 16 in most leagues). Whoever drafted this combo in 2014 likely dominated in the first round of the playoffs as the Packers dismantled a weak Atlanta Falcons defense. However, they struggled in Week 15 against one of the better defenses in the league in the Buffalo Bills. While you can never completely predict the outcome of a game, chances are you know who the weaker defenses in the league are by Week 15 and should set your lineup accordingly.

Final verdict

Watch out for a tough opponent in the more meaningful weeks of the fantasy football season that could result in low production from your QB/WR combo. Also, evaluate both the quarterback and wide receiver as individual players first, then decide if drafting them both would be worth the risk of your team's point total suffering if they both have a bad game.

View Elvis Kennedy's Flickr page here.

Last modified on Friday, 13 February 2015 02:51
George Banko

George Banko started talking about fantasy football shortly after graduating college. He started as an intern at FFChamps.com before working as a staff writer for Fantasy Knuckleheads. He currently contributes to the Fantasy Hot Read podcast, which is available on itunes. He also educated himself on player evaluation and is a graduate of The Scouting Academy in 2015, which is an online course run by former NFL Scout Dan Hatman. He started Fantasy Football Helpers as a blog in 2011 and converted it to a full-scale website in 2014. Read more.

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